[This article was written by Leonard Callejo.]
Good communication is essential for any growing business, but all too often, it falls by the wayside. Whether due to personnel failings or technological limitations, many businesses struggle with communications, both internal (between employees) and external (between vendors and/or customers.) Proper staff training is necessary to address the former concern, but modern collaboration solutions, like video conferencing, can break down the technological communication barriers.
If your staff often runs into trouble clearly communicating with clients, vendors, and each other, then your organization likely faces at least one of the following communication barriers – each of which could be easily removed with the right tools in place.
- Miscues and misunderstandings
Employees rely on a number of different platforms to share important information and updates with one another: email, instant messenger, and chat-based apps, to name a few. All are great at providing real-time communication, but can be problematic when discussing complicated problems and projects or attempting to convey nuance to the recipient.
It’s not unusual for messages to get lost in translation when attempting to talk about a complex subject over email or instant messenger. Employees collaborating on a project may misinterpret directions, requiring stakeholders to redo that work and causing delays to other project phases.
In other instances where an email containing next steps is sent to multiple people, it may not be clear who is actually supposed to handle those tasks. Everyone assumes someone else is handling the matter, and nothing gets done.
While some of those cases can be cleared up with a conference call, there is still a risk of project stakeholders receiving the wrong message without a visual component. This is especially likely if callers are reviewing reports, spreadsheets, or other documents over the phone. It’s difficult for everyone on a call to know exactly what is being discussed without a visual aid.
Video conferencing software gives every participant the ability to follow along as presenters share their screen and run through project documents in real time. They can interject when they want to give feedback or respond to a particular point. Every participant can be actively engaged and can have a chance to present their ideas and annotate shared documents with everyone on the line. It’s easier than ever for teams to communicate with that kind of video conferencing software.
AI-powered features found in modern video conferencing platforms today go even further in helping keep everyone focused and informed. They can automatically take notes, transcribe meetings, identify highlights and action items, and even facilitate post-meeting follow-ups. With tools like these at your disposal, miscues and misunderstandings can be greatly remedied.
- Missed non-verbal cues
Another communication issue to be mindful about is body language. When employees are sitting in a conference room together, it’s easy to pick up on non-verbal cues like a smirking smile to indicate sarcasm. A good amount of communication is imparted through more than just our words, and that can be easily lost on audio-only conferences and text-based communication methods.
The latest video conference solutions, meanwhile, offer high-definition video so every participant feels like they are standing in the same room as the presenter. Attendees can see every facial feature, movement, and gesture, so no body language goes unnoticed or gets lost in translation.
That also helps boost the impact of video conference presentations. Even the most dynamic public speakers will have their messages undercut to some degree if people cannot see them. Reliable, HD video conferencing tools put participants right there in the thick of the action.
- Out-of-sync teams
Telecommuting is becoming the new norm as the remote workforce grows. According to a 2019 Upwork study, nearly three-quarters (73%) of businesses will have remote workers on staff by 2028. Without proper management and robust communication platforms, it will be difficult for geographically disparate employees to effectively collaborate and communicate with one another.
If remote teams are out of sync and unable to work together on shared projects, the benefits of telecommuting could be undone by the resulting productivity losses. Miscues and communication errors could become the norm, resulting in costly mistakes and delays.
Keeping different teams on the same page, regardless of their location, is far easier with the help of video conferencing software. Employees can collaborate in real time, using screen share features to demonstrate their latest progress and invite meeting participants to update and revise documents while everyone’s on the line.
Offshore teams are never left out of the loop, either; session recording and transcription tools allow users to document the meeting and everything discussed so anyone who was unable to attend can get up to speed in no time.
Technological limitations shouldn’t hold your business back from effectively communicating between coworkers, clients, and vendors. There are many free video conferencing tools available today that offer high-quality performance and powerful features for any organization. Get started researching free video conferencing plans and begin removing your organization’s communication barriers for good.
Leonard is a successful enterprise software digital marketing leader that has built agile, data-driven demand generation cultures that span start-up, high-growth, large enterprise and turnaround business situations. He has managed award winning, distributed, remote marketing teams spanning the globe for over 20 years. Currently, Leonard leads online marketing for Cisco’s Webex.com, a leader in software-as-a-service (SaaS) video conferencing and team collaboration solutions.